Election night ballot with three winners and three defeated – The Economic Journal


Socialist Party (PS): He is the clear winner of the European Parliament elections, with 33.8% of the votes and predicted nine terms of office (not yet confirmed because the results of nine consulates have yet to be determined). Not so much by the percentage or total number of votes, but mainly by the distance from the second classified, the PSD, which obtained only 21.94% of the votes and predicted six terms (nevertheless, joining the 6.19% of CDS- PP that, in 2014, competed in a coalition with the PSD, are 28.13%, above the 27.71% that they obtained in 2014 and almost the same distance from the PS).

In 2014, António Costa overthrew António José Seguro from the PS leadership (about 16 months before the legislative elections) because of a victory in the European elections that he classified as "little bit": 31.46% of the votes (1,033,158 in total ) and eight mandates. This time the percentage increased by just over two percentage points and won only about 72 thousand additional votes (1,105,894 in total). Even the distance from the PSD and CDS-PP together (despite the historically low results of both) did not increase almost anything between 2014 and 2019. However, it is still a victory for the PS and, of course, for Costa who practically took the place of head-of-list, before the notorious difficulties of Pedro Marques in the campaign.

Left Block (BE): More than double the vote, double mandates and take-off to third place, at considerable distance from the CDU and CDS-PP, with which it is often almost always tied in the polls. The BE is one of the big winners of the electoral night, with 9.82% of votes and two terms, clearly exceeding the result of 2014 that had been weak (4.56% of votes and a mandate). It jumps from about 150,000 to over 325,000 votes, electing Marisa Matias and José Gusmão (and number three on the list, Sergio Aires, was not too far from being elected). The head of the list had the merit of campaigning positively (especially in the debates) and of great empathic proximity to the voters, almost replicating the excellent result that had already won in the presidential elections of 2016 (third position with 10.12% of the votes, about 469 thousand in total).

People-Animals-Nature (PAN): It was the big surprise of the election night. Polling during the election campaign indicated a maximum of 3% of voter intentions in the PAN, but the first projections of polling at the polls pointed to double and even opened the possibility of overcoming the CDS-PP, something that would not to be realized. With 5,08% of the votes (total of about 168,000), the "EuroPAN" (as the party's militants shouted while the leader, André Silva, delivered the victory speech) almost tripled the result obtained in 2014 (he jumped from 1.72% to 5.08%, or from a total of about 56 thousand votes to more than 168 thousand) and elected for the first time a MEP, head of list Francisco Guerreiro.


Social Democratic Party (PSD): The truth is that it was not too far from the result of the European elections of 2014, as we explained earlier (the same number of seats and, together with the CDS-PP, a higher percentage and more votes in total). But the problem is that this result of 2014 was already historically low and the fact is that, with 21.94% of the votes in 2019, consumes the PSD's worst ever result in national elections, competing on its own. Rui Rio's leadership is not at issue right now, but post-legislative survival seems to be more and more a mirage.

That is, more than a great victory of the PS, we are facing a great defeat of the PSD, with very worrisome signs for the next legislative elections: a party that obtains 16,44% of the votes (about 126 thousand in the total) in the district can not have ambitions to return to power in the short or medium term. This specific problem, moreover, had already been evident in the municipal elections of 2017 (very low, almost humiliating results in Lisbon and Porto), leading to the end of Pedro Passos Coelho's leadership. And it does not seem to be something momentary, or conjunctural, but a structural problem of erosion of the PSD electorate that goes well beyond the merit (or demerit) of any leader or list-head.

United Democratic Coalition (CDU): It is a painful defeat. With 6.88% of the votes (about 228,000 in total), the CDU falls to almost half of the result it had won in 2014, with 12.68% of the votes (about 416,000 in total). It goes from three to just two terms. If the losses in the municipal elections of 2017 had already been accentuated for the Communists, this hecatomb in Europe can not fail to ring the alarm bells at the headquarters of Soeiro Pereira Gomes Street, initiating a process of reflection on the advantages (and disadvantages) of the parliamentary agreement with the PS Government.

Party of the Social Democratic Center – Popular Party (CDS-PP): The CDS-PP this time ran alone and obtained 6.19% of the votes (about 205 thousand in total), holding only one MEP. The last time he had run alone in European elections in 2009, he had won 8.37% of the votes (about 298,000 in total) and two terms. Another basis for comparison may be the result of the 2011 legislative elections, when it reached 11.70% of the votes (about 654,000 in total) and 24 deputies. The conclusion is inescapable: the CDS-PP has just suffered a heavy defeat.

The aggravation of this defeat comes at a time when the PSD has its worst result ever in national elections, while new center-right competitors like the Alliance did not even reach 2% of the vote. Leader Asunción Cristas does not hide the ambition to catapult CDS-PP to the level reached in the municipal elections of Lisbon in 2017 (second place, ahead of PSD, with 20.59% of the votes, about 52 thousand in total), but with this result seems to have returned to square one. Just in time, perhaps, to reformulate the strategy until October.

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